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Top 5 Secrets to Being a Successful Project Manager in Construction

Author: Dexter Miller

Published date: 2019/07

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As a Project Manager, there is a lot of responsibility in making sure all goals are met. There may be hundreds of people working on a construction site, however it’s down to the PM to make sure the project is running as smoothly as possible, and aligning with the client’s requirements. Its not an easy job, not even for the most established project managers within the industry. So how do they deliver time and time again?

Clear Communication

A gap in communication can cause chaos on a construction site, so keeping it at bay by communicating regularly with your team members and clients is key. Good project managers know the importance of communication, and they show this by:

  • Creating a Chain in Command – A clear chain in command provides full understanding of the project teams’ individual responsibilities and maintains accountability whilst also ensuring the right information is getting to the right people.
  • Holding Regular Meetings- Holding both formal and informal meetings allows you to address any critical points in real time as well as alleviate any concerns your team or clients may have. Getting everyone from both on and off the site together is important to provide clarity. However, be cautious that too many meetings can potentially dent productivity.
  • Clear Documentation- It is vital to ensure all project briefs, plans, and contracts are easy to understand and isn’t missing any key information. If changes are required, make sure all documents are kept up to date and sent onto the relevant people.


Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals from the start of a project allows your team to work in the most productive way possible. Make sure each member of your team (including Subbies) are clear about their goals and what is expected of them on and off site.  Make sure you monitor all set goals, so that you can ensure they are achieved adequately and on time.

Lead by Example on Site

As a Construction Project Manager, it can be very tempting for people to stay in the office focusing on the administration side of the project. Try and resist this temptation. 
If you appear on site and show you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get the work done, your field team and subcontractors will respect you a lot more. If people see you are passionate for a project, that should emulate over to them increasing motivation and productivity.

Cost Management

Savvy project managers have cost management in mind from inception of a project all the way to completion. They make sure they create accurate and realistic budgets at the beginning, as well as including a “cushion” in that estimate. This then allows for some financial leeway should any overrun costs appear.  If you want to avoid any major overruns, you must stay on top of your budget; review it regularly, and update as needed.

Risk Management

Many project managers within construction create a contingency plan to have a proactive approach to risk management rather than a reactive one. They will also supervise their workers when necessary and are responsible for ensuring that the project is adhering to H&S standards. A project manager who incorporates risk management into their overall plan is often more effective and able to deliver the final project within its set specifications.

You don’t need any special academic training to use these tips. Simply make a conscious effort to lead by example and make more genuine human connections. Positive team morale yields positive project results!

These tips were written by our Sydney Market Construction Consultant, Dexter Miller. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.